In the early 1990s, Bosnia and Herzegovina became synonymous with the worst horrors of war until the U.S.-brokered Dayton Accords and NATO peacekeepers finally ended the conflict and helped the region start on the long road to post-conflict recovery.
I recently visited Sarajevo, Bosnia, to meet with top defense officials to underscore U.S. support for Bosnia and Herzegovina's efforts to deal with one of conflict's most dangerous legacies: more than 67,000 excess small arms and thousands of tons of surplus conventional ammunition and explosives. In response to a request for support from the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, our Bureau's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is ready to help.
The United States' well-known efforts under its U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action program, which has also been very active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are only part of our larger, comprehensive approach to Conventional Weapons Destruction. In addition to funding efforts to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance, the United States is also committed to mitigating the impact of illicit trafficking and the potentially destabilizing influence of excess small arms, light weapons, and munitions in dozens of countries around the world. Since 2001, we have worked closely with our partners at the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency to help countries safely dispose of more than 1.3 million weapons and approximately 50,000 tons of munitions worldwide.
As with many other forms of U.S. assistance, Conventional Weapons Destruction also seeks to empower partner countries in the region to develop and implement their own solutions. To this end, Bosnia and Herzegovina has also been an active participant in the Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction (RASR), an ongoing U.S. initiative to build partnerships among military officials and international organizations in Southeastern Europe. Through the RASR initiative, former adversaries are now working together to strengthen regional security through collaborative efforts to address aging, excess, and loosely secured stockpiles and conventional munitions.
Disposing of these excess weapons and ammunition will take several years, but Bosnia and Herzegovina's commitment to safely disposing of this excess weaponry marks a positive step toward enhanced regional security.